The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
Watch out for shady news groups
Published: May 16, 2012
British Parliament issued a report early this month declaring News Corp founder and CEO Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” Its evaluation follows a scandal in the worldwide organization that caused the firing of several higher-ups.
Reporters for a News Corp-owned tabloid newspaper, News of the World, hacked into people’s cellphones while pursuing stories about a 13-year-old murder victim and soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Murdoch’s son James, who runs the corporation’s operations in Europe and Asia, has come under fire especially.
Of course the Murdochs weren’t on top of shady journalistic practices in their organization; they aren’t journalists. They are businessmen primarily committed to financial success rather than journalistic principles.
Business incentives and journalistic values often clash, and if dollars and cents dominate an organization, disasters like this are bound to happen.
News Corp owns a number of news publications in America, including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. Most major news outlets in America are owned by large conglomerates. However, the standards that they hold themselves to are not the same.
The Seattle Times is one of the few large newspapers that is still locally owned and operated. But it can’t be so simple everywhere else, and as consumers of news, we have to be mindful of what kind of organizations are shaping our worldview.
Keeping those locally owned newspapers relevant is our job as consumers, and being aware of where our news comes from and seeking out multiple sources of each story is a responsibility that readers must take seriously.
The product and the process of reporting must also remain the first priority of organizations that do journalism.